Cheese Danish

cheese-danish

It turns out that Danish dough is just croissant dough with the addition of eggs.  And that you make Danish dough using the same technique you make croissant dough–rolling it out and folding it three times, keeping it super cold, etc.  I’ve eaten plenty of Danish in my life and never knew that. Of course, I’ve only been baking 2.95% of my life–give or take a few percentage points. :P

With the addition of the eggs, the dough is a bit stickier. Rolling it out was easier because apparently the eggs coat the gluten strands so there isn’t as much “spring”.

The cheese part of the Cheese Danish is a filling made with cream cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, and a tinsy bit of flour. The recipe is from The Art & Soul of Baking and uses a 1/2 recipe of Danish dough which makes 12 good size pastries. I ended up making two batches. I gave some to my brother and his family, I brought some into work, and I kept a half a dozen or so for us. Everyone raved about these. I thought they were unbelievably good and tasted like a Danish should–rich and flaky. YUM.

Danish Dough

From The Art & Soul of Baking

Dough Block (Détrempe)

  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm whole milk (110° to 115° F)
  • 1 teaspoon, plus 2 tablespoons (1 ounce), sugar
  • 4 teaspoons active dry yeast, or 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 2 cold large eggs
  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) cold whole milk
  • 3 1/2 cups (17 1/2 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

Butter Block (Beurrage)

  • 3 sticks (12 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  1. Make the dough block: Whisk warm milk and teaspoon of sugar in small bowl. Add yeast and whisk. Let sit until mixture is bubbly and yeast is activated, about 10 minutes.
  2. In stand mixer bowl, whisk remaining sugar, cold milk, and eggs. Whisk in yeast mixture. In separate bowl, whisk flour, salt, & cardamom until well-blended. Add flour mixture to egg mixture, attach dough hook, and mix on low speed for 1 to 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and a rough mass has formed. {Note: for both croissant dough and Danish dough, you only want to knead the bare minimum to bring the dough together. You want to keep gluten formation to a minimum, which makes rolling the dough easier. It will get plenty of kneading during the rollouts/turns}. Turn dough out on a floured surface. Knead the dough 3 to 5 times to bring it together. The dough is very sticky. Don’t be afraid to flour and/or wet your hands.  The dough will not be smooth or elastic. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.
  3. Make the butter block: Toss the butter with flour and chill in refrigerator for 20 minutes. In cleaned stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat chilled butter on medium speed, scraping down sides as necessary, for 1 to 2 minutes or until butter and flour form a smooth mass. Scrape butter onto a piece of parchment paper, wrap it up and refrigerate while you roll out dough.
  4. Incorporate the butter and turn the dough: Dust surface with flour. Set dough in center and dust the top with flour. Roll dough into a 15 by 12-inch rectangle with short side parallel to the edge of your work surface. Make it as straight as possible. Stretch and pull corners if necessary to make nice sharp corners. Visually divide the dough into thirds. Using your fingers (butter is too cold for spatula) spread the cold butter over the top of the upper 2/3rds of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on edges.
  5. Use a letter fold to encase the butter: Fold the empty bottom third over the middle third of the dough. Then fold the top third down over the center. Pinch together the seams at the bottom and sides of dough and gently roll your rolling pin over the top 3 or four times to help seal the seams. You’ve just completed your first “turn”. If the butter has become warm and squishy, refrigerate the dough for an hour. If not, move on to the second turn.
  6. Dust work surface with flour. Position the dough with short side parallel to your work surface and the long fold to your left. Dust the dough with flour and roll it into a 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush any flour  from the surface of the dough. Fold the dough using the book fold method: Fold the two short edges to the center of the dough, leaving a 1/4-inch gap. Line up edges precisely and square corners as you fold. Fold one side over the other as if you are closing a book. Briefly roll your rolling pin across the top to seal the seams. This completes the second turn. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for an hour.
  7. Dust work surface with flour. Remove dough from refrigerator, dust with flour, and roll into a 20 by 12-inch rectangle. Brush any flour from work surface and fold dough using letter-fold method from step #5. Make sure to square the corners and fold neatly and precisely as possible. Roll your rolling pin over the top to help seal the seams. This completes the third turn and the Danish dough  is finished.
  8. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to 24 hours before using it.  You can also wrap it up and freeze  for  4 to 6 weeks. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before using.

Cream Cheese Filling

  • 8 ounces cream cheese, cut into 8 to 10 pieces
  • 6 tablespoons (2 1/2 ounces) sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons (1/2 ounce) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Finely grate zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place cream cheese and sugar in bowl of food processor. Process until mixture is smooth, 20 to 30 seconds, scraping down sides half-way through. Add egg yolk and pulse for 5 seconds and scrape down sides. Add flour, zest, and vanilla extract and blend well–about 10 seconds. Scrape bowl and make sure everything is well-mixed.

The filling can be kept in refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Apricot Glaze

  • 1/4 cup (2 1/2 ounces) apricot jam
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water

Combine jam and 2 tablespoons of water in a small saucepan. Warm over low heat until melted and fluid. If glaze seems too thick, add third tablespoon of water. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl to remove any chunks of fruit. Use while warm and fluid.

The glaze will keep in refrigerator for one month. Reheat before using.

Cheese Danish

  • 1/2 recipe of Danish Dough (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 1/2 recipe Cream Cheese Filling
  • 1 recipe Apricot Glaze
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
  1. Dust work surface with flour. Place dough in center and dust top with flour. Roll into a 16 by 12 by 1/4-inch rectangle. Mark dough at 4-inch intervals on all sides. Cut dough into 12 (4-inch) squares.
  2. Place a tablespoon of Cream Cheese Filling in center of each square and smear in a slight oval toward two of the diagonal corners. Fold one of the other corners over filling. Moisten its top with a bit of water and fold the opposite corner over the top and press to seal. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats and place Danishes on prepared sheets.
  3. Loosely cover sheets with plastic wrap and let Danish rise in a cool room-temperature spot until they are doubled in size and look like they have taken a deep breath (about 1 hour). If you squeeze one, it should feel marshmallow-like.
  4. Preheat the oven to 400° F and position rack to center. Chill Danish in freezer for 10 minutes or refrigerator for 15 minutes. Bake one sheet of Danish at a time, rotating sheet halfway through, for 14 to 16 minutes. The Danish should be golden brown. Transfer Danish to cooling rack and immediately brush with a thin layer of Apricot Glaze. Bake and glaze the 2nd Danish sheet the same way. Cool completely and dust with confectioners’ sugar prior to serving.

You can freeze unbaked shaped Danish for 4 to 6 weeks. Let defrost and proof at room temperature for about 2 to 3 hours. You can also freeze baked Danish for up to one month. Thaw at room temperature for 30 minutes, then reheat in 350° F oven for 7 to 8 minutes, until crust is crisped and the center is warmed through.

cheese-danish-2

I’m submitting this to Yeastspotting, a weekly round-up of yeasted goods and bread.

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46 thoughts on “Cheese Danish

  1. I swear, coming over to your blog and checking it out is like walking into a high end bakery one day and a health food store the next. I don’t know how you do it. Everything you make looks perfect!

  2. I still can’t believe you’ve only been baking for 2.95% of your life. You must be the quickest learner ever. I’d still be on brownies out of a box at your stage of the game. These look amazing. I’d love to start the day with one of those babies!

  3. Gorgeous photos! I’m sure they tasted as great as they look, which makes me want them… danish have been on my list of things to make for a while- this might just be the push I needed :) Thanks.

  4. 2.95%? I’ve been baking for much longer and there’s no way I could make danish like that.

    I’m going to attempt the bagels tonight! I’m using the same recipe you did – so think good bagel thoughts for me.

  5. They look awesome. You are becoming quite the laminated dough expert. Nick (the BF) actually made some danish a few weeks ago and we still have some dough leftover in the freezer. I have had a plan to make your morning buns with it since I read that post. Yum!!!

  6. Well, Wendy, my husband would be ecstatic if I baked him these; cheese danishes are his favorite thing ever. But I am totally intimidated by laminated dough, so it’s not happening any time soon. I’ll just keep plying him with toasting loaves…

    You do beautiful work, lovely danish, lovely photos. All lovely…
    Nancy

  7. Okay, so you must understand, I’m not a huge pastry person. When it comes to my desserts, I like the cakes and cookies, etc. However, I have a serious weakness for cheese danishes. I love them. That combination of danish dough and cheese filling is just incredible. Totally rocks my world. I’ve never tried to make them, though. I can’t wait to try! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  8. So I’ve decided that you are my new mentor when it comes to baking anything that involves dough, because you do it perfectly every time. Do you mind? :)

  9. I can’t believe you made that beautiful dough yourself, Pink!

    Pfff… I would have bought flaky dough and that would have been the end of it! lol I have no talent what so ever with that part of baking, plus I don’t own a stand mixer! humpf…

    But I’m positive the home made buttery taste and great texture must have made it all worth it! From here, it looks like it did anyways!!!

  10. Mmm, danish. I really need to make some again. Cheese danish is my favorite. Though raspberry is a close second. Yours look terrific!

  11. This post reminded me that I need to take the other half of my danish pastry dough out of the freezer for future consumption! YUM! You did an awesome job.

  12. I just popped over from Yeastspotting because these Danish caught my eye! They are gorgeous! I have wanted to make cheese Danish for ages and these look perfect! Yay!

  13. Those look divine, I may have to try this today! I had an amazing lemon danish with fresh blueberries this week on vacation, perfectly crisp and sweet, and all I could think of was making it at home.

  14. I tried these last night, and they are better than any cheese danish I have tasted, although my history with danishes is very limited. I made these for church this Sunday, but unfortunately or fortunately as the case may be, many of them disappeared after supper. So, I have to make more today to take to church on Sunday! I also made eclairs and doughnuts, but they didn’t compare to the danishes. I made most with the cream cheese, but also blueberry, blackberry and apricot. For church, I made them smaller than the recipe called for. The next batch will be regular size. Thanks for this great recipe. For almost a first, I followed the recipe to the letter — no, I didn’t, I changed the size. I am direction challenged. I find it near impossible to leave a recipe alone without my own little touch of independence.
    I don’t know if any are interested, but I have a great recipe for multi-grain whole wheat bread that is to die for. I use it also for raisin bread.

  15. I just made these again today and practice makes perfect or in my case, better than the first time. I’ve been cooking, baking and canning for about 9 months now, and we never by bread of any kind anymore. I even grind my own flour. Back to the Danishes, these turned out much better than last night, better tasting, better looking, and with a few more tries, I may even be able to make them resemble yours. I would love to have picture perfect pastries like those.

  16. Hello! I’m on a quest for a decent cheese danish here in Seattle, and so far, no luck. I’d like to use your image of cheese danish in a blog post about this quest as an example of what I imagine a cheese danish should look like. I think this quest will end in me just making them myself. Wondering if you would be willing to let me use your image, and of course I’ll give credit and link to your blog!

    Roxanne

  17. oh thank u for this delicious cheese danish i am going to bake it without the apricot glace and de confectioners sugar i will use plain eggs for the glace.
    thank u very much for the recipe i will make it to my doctors this coming monday!
    happy valentine’s day!!!!!

  18. Thank you for this recipe. I made the dough last night and baked the danish this morning. I am having a hard time not eating them all and I can usually restrain myself. These are very good..THANK YOU ..

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